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Washington State Constitution: Stories from the Oregonian

Prepared by Mary Whisner. Posted (draft) Oct. 17, 2012; last updated Dec. 14, 2012.

Following are selected articles from the Morning Oregonian and the Sunday Oregonian (Portland, OR) about the Washington State Constitution.

This page is under construction. For more links to the Morning Oregonian, see this page.

Note: Newspaper style in 1889 often used a primary headline with one or more subheads. In the list below, we include the subheads to help you find relevant articles, even though you would not include all of them in a citation.

Sample of headline with three subheads.

There are also a few short items that have no headline; in those cases we supply some information in brackets.

We have not labeled editorials, but you can tell from the voice. Generally, editorials are on p. 4 of each issue.


Morning Oregonian (Portland)

July 4, 1889
Date and Page Headline
Jan. 21, 1889, at 1 From Washington; Hermann Speaks for the Admission of Washington; The Coming Week in Congress; A Bill to Increase the Authority of the Washington Territory Legislature; The Senate Tariff Bill; Conjectures on the Concurrence of the House—The Arguments Closed int he Celebrated Mormon Church Case
April 16, 1889, at 2 State and Territory; A Proclamation by the New Governor of Washington; Fatal Accident in a Sawmill; Particulars of the Fight Between Burglars and Officers—Interesting Land Contest at Seattle—Activity Among Fishermen
July 2, 1889, at 6
full page [includes Makes No Progress (woman suffrage) and Railways on the Pacific; neither discusses Washington specifically]
July 3, 1889, at 2
full page [includes short item: From Walla Walla; The Progressive Club's Ticket—A Bird Who Ran Away]
July 4, 1889, at 1-2

For a Constitution; Nearly All the Delegates Have Gathered at Olympia; Questions That Have Arisen; The Woman Suffragists Meet and Adopt a Series of Resolutions; Who Will Be the Chairman?; An Active Canvass for the Honors of the Convention—The City Crowded Already—The Programme for To-Day

Sections in article include:

  • The Tide-Flat Lands
  • The Woman Suffragists; A Meeting Held in the Afternoon and Resolution Adopted
  • Caucusing for Officers; Judge Turner and Judge Hoyt Leading Candidates for Chairman

page 1, page 2

July 4, 1889, at 4

The State of Washington

page 4 (includes A Valuable Sketch [introducing Territorial Days, at 12-13])

July 4, 1889, at 7

If an Abundance of Water Power Counts for Anything in the Upbuilding of a Young City Ellensburgh's Future is Certain Well Assured [advertisement]

full page

July 4, 1889, at 9

Washington; A Constitution Adapted to the Coming State; Suggestions by Hon. W. Lair Hill; Main Features Considered in the Light of Modern Experience; Outline and Comment Together; The Effect of Constitutions on the Development of Civil and Social Economies and Institutions ["Hill Constitution"]

page 9, page 10, page 11

July 4, 1889, at 12-13

Territorial Days; A Glance at Washington's Early History; The Missionaries and Pioneers; The First White Settlements on Puget Sound; How the Interior Was Peopled; Spread of Civilization Along the Columbia—Prominent Names—Organization of the Territory—First Governor [author: H. S. Lyman]

page 12, page 13

July 4, 1889, at 13-14

Men to Make a State; The Members of the Constitutional Convention; Brief Biographical Sketches; Records of Integrity and Honor, and In Many Cases Hard Struggles With Early Poverty—A Well Chosen Body

page 13, page 14
July 4, 1889, at 14

Gov. Watson C. Squire; His Part in the Bringing About of Statehood; Brief Biographical Sketch of the Man—A Gallant Soldier, A Shrewd Man of Business and a Valuable Citizen [image distorted]

page 14

July 5, 1889, at 1-2

The First Session; Officers of the Convention Chosen by the Caucus; Judge Hoyt Will Be Chairman; Temporary Organization Effected in the Afternoon; Greetings from the Dakotas; Moore, of Spokane Falls, Serves as Temporary Chairman—Adjournment Taken Until 10 O'Clock This Morning

[Note: main article is followed by short, related pieces: Greetings to the Dakotas, Facts About the Delegates, continuation of Men to Make a State (notes about 10 more delegates).]

page 1, page 2

July 6, 1889, at 1-2

Taking Their Time; Deliberations of the Convention at Olympia; Temporizing with a Contest; The Permanent Officers Now in Control of the Organization; A Full Report of the Debates; The Delegates and the Officers Take the Oath of Office, and the Convention Adopts the National Constitution

page 1, page 2

July 6, 1889, at 2

Behind the Scenes; The Secret Ballot Covers a Multitude of Sins; A Close Call for Judge Hoyt; Democratic Votes Saved Him from Defeat at the Hands of Bolting Republicans; Note and Comment

page 2

July 6, 1889, at 3

Once in a Lifetime [reprinted from the Daily Olympian: "Olympia has a rare opportunity of establishing and confirming her own fair name in the hearts and minds of the territory's representative-citizens."]

page 3

July 6, 1889, at 4

An Important Question [tide lands]

[one-paragraph item: judges, juries]

page 4

July 10, 1889, at 1

The Day at Olympia; The committees Announced by the President; A Series of Rules Adopted; A Lady Elected Journal Clerk—An Earnest Debate Over a Resolution Against Trusts and Monopolies

page 1

July 10, 1889, at 1

The Montana Constitution; A Resolution in Favor of State Control of Trusts

page 1

July 11, 1889, at 7
Raising County Subsidies; Why Should the People Be Prevented From Pledging Their Faith?; A Plea for Allowing Counties in Washington to Bond Themselves to Raise Money to Build Railroads [letter signed P. B. J.]
July 12, 1889, at 1
Still Talking Away; A Long Debate Over the Size of the Legislature; Which Ends Where It Began; Another Large Budget of Propositions for the Constitution—How Will the Corporations Fare?—Advice Is Common
July 13, 1889, at 1
Changing the Rules; The Olympia Convention Is Not Running Smoothly; Morning Sessions to Be Held; Committee Work To Be Handled in the Afternoons and Evenings—A Number of Additional Propositions
July 13, 1889, at 6
New State School Lands; One of the Most Important Questions To Be Considered at Olympia; The Constitution Adopted by South Dakota Considered to Contain the Best Provisions on This Subject [letter from W. . . Beadle]
July 15, 1889, at 1

Olympia on Sunday; A Quiet Place, Yet It Furnishes Material for a Letter; Opinions on Railway Legislation; The Candidates for the Various Offices To Be Created in the New State Are Very Numerous

page 1

July 15, 1889, at 3

Taxing Church Property; B. F. Underwood Offers Some Reasons Why It Should Be Done; Exempting Church Property from Taxation, He Asserts, Is a Robbery Perpetrated in the Name of Religion [letter]

page 3

July 15, 1889, at 4

Political Destinies of the New States

page 4

July 15, 1889, at 4

[one-paragraph item on the effect of the voters' rejection of the constitution]

page 4

July 16, 1889, at 1

Seattle and Walla Walla; Delegations in Attendance Before the Olympia Convention

page 1

July 16, 1889, at 2

Men of Washington; Facts About the Members of the Convention; Their Occupations and Politics; The Clerical Force and the Journalistic Athenians Who Do Naught But Hear and Tell the News—Interesting Statistics

page 2

July 16, 1889, at 2 [several short items:]
  • The Idaho Convention; Adoption of a Section Dealing with the Liquor Question
  • The Montana Convention; Woman Suffragists Present a Memorial—Propositions, Resolutions, Etc.
  • At Bismarck; A Scheme to Encourage the Payment of Taxes on Mortgages
  • The Sioux Falls Convention; No Important Business Transacted at Yesterday's Session

page 2

July 18, 1889, at 1

The Day at Olympia; Brief Consideration of the Report on Judiciary; The Shortest Session Yet; A Few More Propositions Submitted—A Scheme to Make One Clerk Serve a Number of Committees

page 1

July 19, 1889, at 1-2

The Supreme Court; Its Foundation the Subject of a Long Discussion; In Committee of the Whole; The Court Will Consist of Five Members, Instead of Three; The Majority Rule Stands; An Appointive Proposition Rejected by a Decided Majority—An Interesting an Prolonged Session

page 1, page 2

July 21, 1889, at 1

The Day in Olympia; The Article on Judiciary is Practically Completed; Adoption of a New Section; After Reaching the End, the Committee Returns to Section Three and Adopts a Substitute—The Debates

page 1, page 2

July 23, 1889, at 6
The Walla Walla Subsidy; An Interesting Letter From an Opponent of the Scheme; Constitutions Are Adopted for the Express Purpose of Protecting the People from Themselves and Their Law-Makers [letter signed Anti-Schemer]
July 25, 1889, at 4

Prohibition Not Temperance

full page

July 25, 1889, at 4

[one-paragraph item on governor's salary]

full page

July 25, 1889, at 4

The Washington Convention [executive department]

full page

July 27, 1889, at 1
The Day at Olympia; An Article on Corporations Other Than Municipal; The Executive Department; Unsuccessful Attempt to Curtail the Pardoning and Veto Powers of the Governor—Tardy Members Create Amusement
July 28, 1889, at 1
Military Affairs; Another Article Presented to the Olympia Convention; A Five-Minute Rule Rejected; The Governor May Be Sent to the United States Senate; And May Serve a Second Term; Another Unsuccessful Attempt to Modify the Veto Power—The Bill of Rights Briefly Considered
July 28, 1889, at 6

Reply to "Anti-Schemer" [letter signed P. B. J.]

full page

July 29, 1889, at 2 Views of Puget Sound; A Report That the Multnomah Will Be Taken There; The Gray's Harbor Country; Attention Turning to Its Rich Prairies and Forests—The Capital Question—Bellingham Bay
July 30, 1889, at 3 The Bill of Rights; An Angry Debate Over Putting God in the Constitution; Convention Evenly Balanced; The Preamble, After a Long Wrangle, Is Sent Back to the Committee—The Article on Military Affairs Not Taken Up
July 31, 1889, at 1 The National Guard; A Spirited Debate in the Olympia Convention; The Pruning Knife at Work; The Legislative Sections of the Committee's Report Stricken Out—The Provision for a Soldiers' Home Retained
Aug. 1, 1889, at 1 Wisdom and Folly; A Large Display of Each in the Olympia Convention; A Crazy But Amusing Letter; "Grateful to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe"; Thus Reads the Preamble; The Convention Has Struck Another Snag—The Question of Counties Voting Subsidies to Railroads
Aug. 2, 1889, at 4 [one-paragraph item about "Supreme Rule of the Universe" in preamble]
Aug. 5, 1889, at 2 Section Twenty-One; Shall the New State Have a Railway Commission? A Sharp Contest Inevitable; The Struggle for Office Has Already Begun in Earnest—Men Who Want To Serve Their Country
Aug. 6, 1889, at 6 The Day at Olympia; All the Spokane Members Return to the Stricken City; An Article on Impeachment; A Separate Article on Prohibition to Be Submitted to the People—Section 21 of the Corporations Article Rejected
Aug. 9, 1889, at 2 The Day at Olympia; Adoption of the Article on Future Amendments; The Question of Taxation; The Legislature to Deal with the Subject of Exemption of Church Property—The Public School System
Aug. 9, 1889, at 7 The Talking Match; Considerable Progress Made at Olympia Yesterday; The Public Buildings, Etc.; The People to Decide the Capital Question at the Forthcoming Election—The Article on Legislative Department
Aug. 10, 1889, at 3 The Day at Olympia; Reports Submitted by a Number of Committees; As Usual, a Great Deal of Talk; The Article on Legislative Department Adopted After a Number of Important Changes—The Question of Bribery
Aug. 13, 1889 at 2 Woman Suffrage; A Futile Plea for Constitutional Recognition; Also for Legislative Power; An Excitable Woman Takes Deep Interest in the Proceedings; A Sudden Change of Opinion; The Convention Finally Concludes to Submit a Proposed Constitutional Amendment to the People in 1890
Aug. 15, 1889, at 6 The Land Question; Another Day of Angry and Personal Debate; The Harbor Article Passed; The Remainder of the Session Consumed in Consideration of the Article on State, School and Granted Lands
Aug. 18, 1889, at 1 The Day at Olympia; School Land Near Cities to Be Sold in Lots; An Additional Section Passed; The Convention Next Takes up the Schedule Article—The County Subsidy Scheme Defeated for the Last Time
Aug. 20, 1889, at 2 The State's Lands; Their Disposition Left to the Legislature; The Land Article is Rejected; A Fortunate Error for Corporations Has Been Made; Columbia River Boundary Line; Some Heated Discussion Regarding the Subject of Pilotage—The Schedule Article Amended and Still Pending
Aug. 22, 1889, at 2 In the Last Ditch; The Tide Land Men Have Not Given up All Hope; Amendments to the Schedule; Still Asserting the State's Right to Such Land; Text of the School Land Article; An Effort to Exempt Women from Taxes, If They Are Not Allowed to Vote, Fails to Go Through

Aug. 23, 1889, at 6 The New State; Full Text of Washington's Constitution; Submitted to Public Judgment; The Famous Tide Land Question Left to the Courts; The School Land Restrictions; A Schedule Adopted Which Provides Clearly and Concisely for the Change of Government from Territory to State
Aug. 24, 1889, at 5
Those School Lands
Sept. 11, 1889, at 3
Women of Washington; Looking up the Law and Some Will Assert Their Right to Vote; Men Advised to Vote for the Woman Suffrage Article if They Expect to Be Admitted to Statehood [letter signed Abigail Scott Duniway]
Sept. 19, 1889, at 6
Forced Conclusion [letter signed D., arguing that Prof. R. B. Bryan is eligible for superintendent of public instruction under the constitution]
Sept. 21, 1889, at 4
The Washington Campaign [Democratic candidates opposing the constitution]
Sept. 23, 1889, at 4
A Word to Washington Republicans
Sept. 24, 1889, at 4
Opposing the Constitution
Sept. 24, 1889, at 8
Politics in Washington; Delegate Allen Confident of the Success of the Republican Ticket; The Democrats, He Says, Have Their Eyes on the Senatorships and Are Throwing off on Their State Ticket
Sept. 25, 1889, at 4
[Two one-paragraph items: Democratic opposition to the constitution; Olympia' attractions as capital]
Sept. 27, 1889, at 2
Other Coast Events; Interesting Developments in the Blythe Contest; The Valentine Scrip Filings; A Woman of Wonderful Nerve—Sensational Declarations in a Seattle Court—Northwestern Notes [Valentine Scrip item involves the tidelands; one of the "Northwestern Notes' concerns what will happen if the constitution is not approved]
Sept. 28, 1889, at 7
Constitution of Washington; A Mistaken Appeal Against Its Provisions as to Use of Water [letter from Walla Walla, signed J. H. Lasater, with one-paragraph reply by editors]
Sept. 29, 1889, at 2
Notes on Tacoma; And a Few Remarks in Conclusion on Woman Suffrage [letter from Tacoma, signed Abigail Scott Duniway]
Sept. 29, 1889, at 6 Ellenburgh's Capital Claims; The Advantages of This City Compared to Those of Olympia [letter from Tacoma, signed Merchant]
Sept. 30, 1889, at 3 State Government; An Analysis of the Yearly Cost in Washington; The Expenditures as Fixed by the Constitution to Be Voted Upon by the People of the New State To-Morrow
Sept. 30, 1889, at 4 Washington's Constitution
Sept. 30, 1889, at 4 The Incessant Fever of Politics
Oct. 1, 1889, at 1 This Is Election Day; The Outlook in Washington and Montana; The Democrats Are Hopeful; But Indications Are Strongly Favorable to the Republicans—Exciting Scenes at Helena—Close of the Campaign
Oct. 2, 1889, at 1 A Great Victory; Washington Is Republican by Many Thousands; The Constitution Wins; Woman Suffrage and Prohibition Snowed Under; Olympia Is in the Lead; Of Course the Two Dakotas Are Republican; The Southern State Goes Dry; Both Parties Are Stoutly Claiming Montana; A Divided Ticket Very Probable; All of the Voting States Have Adopted the Constitution; A Very Large Vote Polled; In Washington the Republicans Save a Large Majority in the Legislature—A Cold Day for the Democrats
Oct. 3, 1889, at 1 Solidly Republican; Later Returns Verify the First Reports from Washington; The Capital Question Close; Olympia Leads, but Probably Falls Short of a Majority—The Legislature Is Overwhelmingly Republican
Oct. 3, 1889, at 4
The New States
Oct. 4, 1889, at 2
Big Eight Thousand; Latest Returns in Washington Confirm the Victory; North Yakima Polls a Big Vote; And Olympia Can Hardly Expect to Be the Permanent Capital Without at Least Another Fight for It
Oct. 6, 1889, at 2
Tales from Tacoma; Scratching Indulged in by Pierce County Republicans; A Drum That Is Hard to Beat; A Few Interesting Facts About the Election—The Selection of United States Senators—Sale of the Tacoma Rapid Transit
Oct. 8, 1889, at 4
[one-paragraph item about election returns, prohibition, woman suffrage]
Oct. 9, 1889, at 10
The Four New States; Vast Tracts of Land Teeming with Agricultural and Mineral Wealth; Precious Metals and Grain—Interesting Facts About North and South Dakota, Washington and Montana [from the Philadelphia Press]
Oct. 11, 1889, at 10
King and Pierce; The Representation of the Two Counties at Olympia; Tacoma's Rapid Gain in Voters; The Increasing Population and a New Apportionment—Hotels, Street Cars, Old Settlers and Other Matters
Oct. 22, 1889, at 9
The Laws of Washington; Adapting Those of the Territory to the Requirements of the Constitution; Corporations to Be Ruled with an Iron Hand—Supervision of Strikes—Mining Regulations—Marriage and Divorce
Oct. 25, 1889, at 6
Value of the School Lands; Timber Sections on Puget Sound That Will Be Worth $25,000 per Quarter [from the Tacoma Ledger]
Oct. 25, 1889, at 6
Some of the Figures [election returns from Washington]
Oct. 29, 1889, at 6
Her Political Future; Indications of the Official Returns of the First State Election in Washington [letter from Walla Walla, signed "H. K." or "N. K."]
Nov. 2, 1889, at 6
Washington's Senators; Can They Be Elected Before the President's Proclamation of Statehood?
Nov. 5, 1889, at 1
Statehood Withheld; Washington Must Still Wait Upon the Anxious Seat; Constitutional Flaw Alleged; Gov. Moore's Name Not Signed to the Constitution; The Delay Will Be Temporary; Appeals to the President—Public Excitement at the News—The Gathering Clans—Senatorial Hosts—Speakership Content
Nov. 5, 1889, at 6
Straining at a Gnat [editorial critical of President's withholding statehood because of technical objection]
Nov. 6, 1889, at 2
Eager for Admission; Olympian Lawmakers Impatient for the Proclamation; Complications of the Situation; Senatorial Aspirants Anxious for the Important Battle; Legislature Convenes To-day; Immediate Session Favorable to Allen and Squires—Speakership Contest Narrowing Down to Two—Withdrawal
Nov. 6, 1889, at 9
Sent to Make Laws; Personnel of Washington's First Legislature; Brief Biographical Sketches; Senators and Representatives Now Assembled at Olympia; Result of Personal Interviews; Many Interesting Facts Concerning the Men Honored by the People of the New Born Commonwealth
Nov. 9, 1889, at 2
Senatorial Rumors; Allen and Squire Will Force a Ballot Tuesday; Brents and Turner Combining; Men Chosen to Make the Nominations—Strength of Candidates—Crowds Leaving Olympia for Seattle and Tacoma
Nov. 10, 1889, at 1
A New State Monday; Harrison's Proclamation Will Lift the Overhanging Clouds; Reaching for Tempting Plums; Estimate of Votes Pledged to Squire and Allen; Why Hyde Drew out of the Race; The Split in the Pierce County Delegation—Thompson Steadily Gaining Strength—The Brents and Turner Combine
Nov. 11, 1889, at 1
Will It Be Illegal?; This Is the All-Absorbing Question at Olympia; It Is Proposed to Ballot To-day; Squire and Allen Will Force the Fight Immediately; The Revised Statutes Quoted; President Harrison's Expected Proclamation Will Serve to Complicate Matters Still More—Opinions of Prominent Lawyers
Nov. 12, 1889, at 1
Legislators at Work; The Senate and House Effect Complete Organizations; Reception of the Great News; Olympia Holds Aloof from Active Fight for Offices; Effort Made to Force a Ballot; Lawmakers Not Willing to be Driven—Squire and Allen Ready to Await the Pleasure of the Houses
Nov. 13, 1889, at 1
Olympia Lawmakers; The House Refuses to Adjourn Until Monday; A Slight Misunderstanding; Concurrent Action Will Probably Be Taken To-day; Turner Confident of Election; Harmony Does Not Prevail in the Spokane Delegation—The Lieutenant Governor Assumes His Duties—Yesterday's Proceedings
Nov. 14, 1889, at 1
Adjourned to Monday; The House Concurs in the Senate Resolution; Proceedings of Both Houses; The Supreme Judges Draw Lots for Choice of Terms; Anders Chosen Chief Justice; The Necessary Committees Announced in the House—The Senatorial Pot Boiling Fiercely—Ferry's Inauguration
Nov. 17, 1889, at 2
News of Washington; A Seattle Florist Burned in His Cabin; Dr. Case in Trouble at Tacoma; District Court Holds Over at Walla Walla—The Authority of the United States Now Yields to the State
Nov. 19, 1889, at 1
Inauguration Day; An Appropriate Celebration of the Occasion; Moore's Farewell Address; The New Governor's Wise and Patriotic Utterances; Assuming the Great Obligation; Magnificent Showing Made by the State Militia; The Hills Echoed with Cheers; The Governors Reception a Magnificent Social Event; Many Fair Women Grace the Occasion; After the Inauguration the Troops Are Reviewed—The First Official Act of the New Executive—Scenes and Incidents

Sunday Oregonian (Portland)

July 2, 1889, at 6

[one-paragraph item about proposal for constitution to prohibit counties issuing bonds to railroads]

page 6



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